Pop Quiz, Monday with Preston Lee

Preston Lee

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Preston Lee

Preston Lee
Photo credit: Preston Lee

What is your job role?
I run a small company helping freelancers excel at business.

Tell us about your company?
Millo has been helping freelancers & solopreneurs thrive at the business since 2009. We’ve published weekly articles, have an active facebook group community, release multiple podcasts, and have a paid freelance job list membership all with the goal of helping freelancers get better clients, grow their business, and live the life they want, doing work they care about.

What do you love most about your job?
I love working for myself primarily because I get to decide where our company goes moving forward. While that can also be a lot of pressure some days, I love not having to go through red tape to test a new idea.

I love not having to waste hours of my day commuting or sitting in meetings that really don’t make a difference to anything or anyone.

I love building a small team and sharing a vision together of how we’ll improve our small corner of the internet.

And, most of all, I love hearing back from readers, listeners, or members about how we’ve changed their lives or their businesses for the better.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
I’d like to say I’m 100% motivated every single day to go to work, but that would be a lie. Even when working for yourself, some days you just aren’t feeling it. But being an entrepreneur means you get up and go to work even on the days you just don’t feel like getting up—maybe especially on those days.

I’m motivated to get up and go to work every day with a few things:

First, I find it incredibly exhilarating to call my own shots, grow my own business from scratch, and take this roller coaster of a journey called entrepreneurship. Not knowing exactly what will happen every day means I don’t feel the dread of “another day” doing something I don’t enjoy.

I’m motivated, of course, by my family. And the fact that they’re counting on me to bring home the proverbial bacon—as it were.

And I’m extremely motivated to know that thousands of freelancers depend on us every day to move their business forward.

Helping people is far more motivating than making money or growing a business, in my experience.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
My team is incredibly inspiring. There’s only a handful of us, but most of us work together on a part-time basis. Until 2017, when I got laid off from my day job, we were all working together on this business as side-hustlers.

The fact that my team can go to work all day, spend time with loved ones, make time for hobbies and passions, and still give what they give to our little company is insanely inspiring.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Admittedly, we could have a little more fun at work. It’s not that we don’t enjoy working together, but our team is 100% remote which means it’s a bit harder to develop those kinds of traditions or team-building exercises. That’s on me. I need to do better in that arena.

My philosophy (partly) though is: let’s be as efficient as possible, get the work done, and then go have fun with our family and loved ones.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
As I mentioned, our team is 100% remote. So there are obvious challenges that come with that setup. Time differences, communication difficulties, country, language, and work-style differences inevitably lead to confusion or frustration at times.

Overall, we’ve learned how each of us works, though, and we tend to overcome the challenges we’re faced with.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
A couple of years ago, we launched our most significant undertaking to date. It’s called SolidGigs, and it’s a weekly freelance job list and membership community to help freelancers get better clients and level up their freelancing.

We’ve learned a huge amount about building an online product, taking payments, satisfying customers, scaling up from our initial MVP (which took a few days and about $25 to spin up) and lots more.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway has to do with consistently surprising, delighting, and satisfying our current paying members.

I had focused a lot on acquiring new members—which I was fairly good at—but failed when it came to retaining members as much as we would like to.

Since then, we’re adding regular new features and content which has begun to help our attrition rates and should continue to do so.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
Hmm. My industry. That’s tough. For bloggers, I would say move quickly, make mistakes, focus on growth (not vanity metrics) and figure out your business model(s) sooner rather than later.

For membership site builders, I would say: iterate extremely quickly to find out what your users like and dislike about your community and how you can rapidly improve and deliver quality new features to your members.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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